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Breaking Down San Diego’s Proposed Zero Waste Initiative


Rebecca Hays, Recycling Specialist, Environmental Services Dept.

Jack Macy, Spokesman, San Francisco Department of the Environment


A plan to reduce the amount of waste in San Diego, and eventually stop it all together, went before the City Council's Natural Resources and Culture Committee Wednesday.

RELATED: Read what people are saying about the initiative

City staff proposed the zero waste initiative because the Miramar Landfill is running out of space, and because the state has a goal of 75 percent of waste being diverted from landfills by 2020. The diversion rate in San Diego in 2012 was 68 percent -- almost unchanged over three years, according to city documents.

The plan would also have the city divert all waste from landfills by 2040 through conservation, recycling and composting.

In California, 15 cities and several large corporations have zero waste policies, according to a staff report.

The report proposes a multi-pronged approach, including expanding recycling of yard waste, developing infrastructure to divert food waste, developing regulations to support the initiative and changing funding resources for recycling programs.

The city's Environmental Services Department says the Miramar Landfill is slated to close in 2022, though increased diversion could keep the facility operating longer.

Council members will be asked to approve the objectives of the initiative when city staff develop the plan in detail and bring it back to the committee next spring.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated California is requiring 75 percent of waste being diverted from landfills by 2020. The story now correctly states the initiative is a goal and not a requirement.

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